Chicken tests

FB

Not my cup of cake
Valued Member
Completely off topic but someone recounted a story to me recently about bird strikes on trains. British Rail, as was, wanted to conduct their own bird strike tests so the company making the trains told them how to build a CO2 cannon and suggested firing a dead chicken at the train which they could buy from the local supermarket to simulate the bird strike.

BR made their tests and were horrified when the chicken not only went through the "bird proof" screen but through the cab, and the first 5 sets of seats in the carriage. They called in the train builder and explained then problem, loaded up the cannon and fired it. The damage was horrendous. Looking at the scene of devastation the train builder suggested they try loading the cannon with a defrosted chicken rather than a frozen one.
 

sobriety

Pole Sitter
FB, the rest of that urban legend goes something like this:

So they got hold of another frozen chicken, and loaded it into the cannon. They left it to defrost inside of the cannon overnight, powered it up in the morning and fired it, chicken made a huge mess all over the front of the train, but didn't break the screen, on cleaning the mess up they were surprised to find bits of fur all over the front f the train (this being a chicken after all). The mystery was cleared by viewing the slow motion film of the test, which revealed a stray cat, that had entered the cannon overnight to feast on the chicken...
 

VanChallis

Points Scorer
Completely off topic but someone recounted a story to me recently about bird strikes on trains. British Rail, as was, wanted to conduct their own bird strike tests so the company making the trains told them how to build a CO2 cannon and suggested firing a dead chicken at the train which they could buy from the local supermarket to simulate the bird strike.

BR made their tests and were horrified when the chicken not only went through the "bird proof" screen but through the cab, and the first 5 sets of seats in the carriage. They called in the train builder and explained then problem, loaded up the cannon and fired it. The damage was horrendous. Looking at the scene of devastation the train builder suggested they try loading the cannon with a defrosted chicken rather than a frozen one.
ROFL This is one of the funniest things I've ever had the pleasure of reading. And totally typical for our rail network! Brilliant! ROFL
 

canis

Race Winner
Valued Member
I am partially ashamed to admit I know one of the BR engineers involved in the above story. And it is mostly true. The cat part is an urban legend and never happened.

The "cannon" was borrowed from an aircraft manufacturer and was used to test airplane designs as they are very likely to hit a bird at some point. The train itself went through a few re-designs during the testing process before the company involved got hold of the aircraft manufacturer to ask how they made their windscreens tough enough to take a bird hit and the conversation went as follows (reported by my friend)

Aircraft Engineer - "So, go through the process you are following to test the train?"
Rail Engineer - "We fire the chicken at the windscreen and assess the damage, just as it says in your operations manual"
AE - "And what results have you got so far?"
RE - "The first test the chicken ended up about 4 cars back in the train, the front of the engine was completely demolished by the impact, we assumed manufacturing defects so we got another engine and this time checked it was all perfect before testing. This second test the chicken only ended up about 3 cars back, but still virtually demolished the engine and driver section. So we did a redesign and rebuild and tested again, this time the chicken didnt get to the passenger carriages but still would have been fatal for any driver, we have tried a few more designs but they still can't stop the chicken from hitting the driver section with enough force to kill any occupant".
AE - "And you have removed all the packaging from the chicken first as this will change any results?"
RE - "Yes, we are only firing the bird itself"
AE - "And you are using fresh chickens?"
RE - "No, we are buying them from the froxen section in bulk"

At which point the hammer dropped and the Rail Engineer realised what he had just said.

What amazed me is that apparently there were about 25 engineers working on this testing, and not one of them thought "In what way does a frozen chicken give us a representation of a live bird hitting the screen?" :twisted:
 

FB

Not my cup of cake
Valued Member
Now we have a suitable place to discuss these sorts of bizarre goings on did you know pigs are used for live fire tests in weapons development as their skin is very similar to humans. Poor old piggy has to be alive during the test though, albeit (usually) heavily sedated.

Also, pigs were used before crash test dummies in car crash tests and to see what damage a steering wheel does when developing air bags.

Not a lot of people know that.
 
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